Asking the Republican presidential ticket to explain how it plans to give a the massive tax cut to the rich while still balancing the budget and avoiding tax increases on the middle class is “laughable,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Monday.
Yesterday, Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace asked Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, to explain the math of the tax plan,but Ryan refused because he said “it would take me too long.” The Romney campaign has faced calls from Democrats, the media, and even other Republicans to get more specific about its tax and budget plans, but has thus far refused. That’s fine with McDonnell, an oft-used Romney surrogate, who could neither explain Romney’s tax plan nor name a single specific spending cut Romney would make as president:
MITCHELL: Where is the math, and is Mitt Romney going to be under pressure in this debate to produce some specifics about how it will all add up?
MCDONNELL: Well, Andrea, first, that’s a laughable question. Where’s the president’s plan? He’s had four years. 23 million people don’t have work. So let’s start with that, the president’s policies haven’t worked.
MITCHELL: The question was asked by Chris Wallace on Fox, it’s being asked by other Republicans. Where is the math? How do you add up those tax cuts even eliminating some deductions? Which deductions would you eliminate? Let’s be specific. And how will you do that and reach deficit reduction? Which programs will be cut?
MCDONNELL: The question is how do you get America back to work? What Paul Ryan just said on your clip is you, you flatten the base and increase the, I mean excuse me, you increase the — you reduce the number of deductions that are out there and you expand the base. That’s typically what works. That can be done in a revenue-neutral fashion, I think that’s what Paul Ryan has proposed, and what that does is make America more competitive.
Romney’s tax plan either adds up to budget-busting deficits or tax increases on middle class families, as the Tax Policy Center found when it filled in the gaps of Romney’s plan in the most generous fashion. Republicans and the Romney campaign have insisted that Romney will close tax loopholes that affect the rich to pay for the plan. But TPC found that there weren’t enough of those loopholes, meaning Romney’s plan would have to either add to the deficit or raise taxes on middle class families by as much as $2,000. The plan, as conceived, simply can’t accomplish both of Romney’s goals.
McDonnell tacitly and perhaps unknowingly admitted as much today, when he told Mitchell that there are ways to do tax reform in a revenue neutral way that involves expanding the tax base. Expanding the base often translates to increasing the number of people paying taxes (including, presumably, some of the 47 percent Romney says he can’t convince to take responsibility for themselves), the clearest admission yet from a campaign surrogate that a President Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class to avoid blowing a hole in the budget.